Bending to the times, Puccini’s “shabby little shocker” (as the critic Joseph Kerman was pleased to call one of the most durable pillars of the operatic canon) returns in an uninterrupted open-air concert adaptation with narration running 90 minutes. Aficionados will scream that there’s not a bar to be cut from the Master’s score, which straight through clocks in at an even two hours. Okay, such are the deals with the devil that pass for “innovation” these days. In role debuts of exceptional promise, Ana María Martínez and Quinn Kelsey face off as the impulsive Roman diva Floria Tosca and Scarpia, the Machiavellian chief of the Eternal City’s secret police. Both are new to Opera Philadelphia, as is Brian Jagde as the revolutionary Cavaradossi, a role he has made his calling card in top houses all over the map. As a public-safety precaution, acres of seats will go unsold. So, to dress the house and help out the box office, the company is offering to fill them with photo cutouts of donors, their loved ones, “or even a pet!” Price per virtual attendee: $100, which includes a code for a stream of the concert in June. You might even glimpse your avatar in the crowd! —M.G.
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